Sexual and other Harassment
Illinois Central College is committed to the philosophy that all employees and students have a right to work and be educated in a discrimination-free environment. This encompasses freedom from discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran or marital status. Any such discrimination undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and the educational experience. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, includes sexual harassment as a prohibited form of sex discrimination for employees, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits sexual harassment of students. The Illinois Human Rights Act of 1980 also renders sexual harassment illegal. For these reasons, the following policy was developed.
It is the policy of Illinois Central College to maintain an environment which respects the dignity and worth of all members of the institutional community, and is harmonious with the College's mission of educating and providing services. To this end, harassment of faculty, staff, administrators, and students at Illinois Central College based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran or marital status, is unacceptable conduct, is in violation of this policy, and will not be tolerated. Retaliatory action against a person reporting sexual or other forms of harassment and intentional false accusations are also prohibited. Individuals in violation of this policy are subject to severe disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, discharge, or expulsion.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined, as in the Equal Opportunity Commission Guidelines, as any unwelcome, unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or educational status
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors
- Unwelcome sexual jokes, comments, innuendos, advances, propositions, or abusive personal remarks
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
- Graphic commentary about an individual's body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies
- Sexually explicit displays or distribution of pictures, materials, or objects in the work area
- Offering or implying a reward or threat concerning academic assignments, grades, discipline, or other terms or conditions of the academic situation in exchange for sexual favors
- Demeaning behavior including but not limited to staring, leering, pinching, obscene gestures, touching and other physical conduct or blocking the movements of another person
- Obscene, pornographic, discriminatory or sexually explicit phone calls, e-mails, or other communications.
Harassment Definition (excluding sexual harassment or discrimination as defined above)
Enrollment at Illinois Central College includes obligations with regard to conduct both in and out of the classroom. Employees and students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately within the academic community.
When employees or students fail to observe the general standards of conduct established by the College, they shall be liable to disciplinary action. Behaviors (excluding discrimination and sexual harassment as outlined above) that create a hostile environment for other individuals and disrupt the educational or work environment may be classified as harassment. Disruption of the educational process and violation of the rights of others constitutes irresponsible behavior and is subject to disciplinary action.
Some actions may include, but are not limited to actions or threats endangering life and property; flagrant disruptiveness in the classroom, or on or about College property, or at College-sponsored functions; explicit use of profanity or obscenity; threatening others with bodily injury; bullying, or stalking.
Sexual and Other Harassment Complaint Procedure
1. Informal Procedure
The College encourages individuals who believe they are being sexually harassed or otherwise harassed to promptly notify the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and request that it be discontinued. Often this action alone will resolve the problem. The College recognizes, however, that it is not necessary for an individual to talk directly to an offender if that individual feels uncomfortable doing so. If for any reason an individual does not wish to confront the offender directly, or if such a confrontation does not successfully end the harassment, or if the individual wants further information or assistance, the individual should contact Margaret A. Lawler, Compliance Officer (Title VII and Title IX), at [email protected] or at (309) 690-6929.
If you receive information regarding sexual or other forms of harassment in your capacity as a supervisor, you are obligated to report it immediately. Individuals who believe they have witnessed sexual or other forms of harassment directed at others should report the harassment to any of the individuals listed above.
The Vice President of Human Resources or the Vice President of Student Services will provide consultation and advice and will initiate whatever steps are deemed appropriate to affect an informal resolution acceptable to all parties. Every effort will be made to assure confidentiality during the informal resolution process.
Discussing a complaint with the Vice President of Human Resources or the Vice President of Student Services does not commit an individual to making a formal charge. (Formal procedures are initiated by the filing of a written complaint, which is signed by the complainant.)
An individual reporting sexual harassment or other forms of harassment should be aware, however, that the College may decide it is necessary to take action to address the harassment beyond an informal discussion. This decision will be discussed with the individual. The best course of action in any case will depend on many factors and, therefore, the informal procedure will remain flexible. Moreover, the informal procedure is not a required first step for the reporting individual.
Non-sexual harassment is generally acted upon through the Code of Conduct process for students and through Human Resources for employees. Procedures and discipline are determined by the appropriate offices.
2. Formal Procedure
In the event a satisfactory informal resolution cannot be reached, or if the individual chooses not to use the informal resolution procedure, the complainant will be advised of the formal complaint procedure. The Vice President of Human Resources or the Vice President of Student Services will request the complainant submit a signed written complaint (statement) at this time. The appropriate College official will inform the alleged harasser of the allegations and of the identity of the complainant.
All formal written complaints will be investigated promptly and impartially by the Vice President of Human Resources, who will serve as Primary Investigator. The complainant and alleged harasser(s) named in the complaint, and others, if appropriate, will be interviewed to ascertain the facts and views of both parties. The internal investigation is not that of a court of law and the presence of legal counsel is not permitted during this investigation. The Primary Investigator may at any point dismiss a written complaint if it is found to be clearly without merit. The Primary Investigator will determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe this harassment policy has been violated, and will submit its findings to the President of Illinois Central College, along with a recommendation of appropriate action(s) to be taken.
A copy of the Primary Investigator’s findings and recommendation will be given to the complainant and the alleged harasser. Both the complainant and the alleged harassers may, within seven (7) days of the receipt of the Primary Investigator’s report, submit a written statement to the President concerning the findings and recommendation of the Primary Investigator Recommendation. The President shall take whatever action is warranted by the evidence. Sanctions for sexual or other forms of harassment depend on the nature of the offense. Sanctions which may be imposed by the President (or in appropriate cases by the Board of Trustees of the College) include, but are not necessarily limited to training, referral to counseling, and disciplinary action such as warnings, oral or written reprimands, suspension, reassignment, termination of employment or expulsion. The reassignment of the complainant will not be an acceptable corrective action unless the complainant consents.
At each step, these procedures seek to protect, insofar as practical and appropriate under the circumstances, the privacy of individuals involved in the complaint. Both in fact finding and in final disposition of the complaint, reasonable efforts will be made to carry out the procedures confidentially.
Protection against Retaliation
Retaliation against an individual for reporting sexual harassment or other forms of harassment or assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of this policy and will be treated with the same strict discipline, as would the harassment itself. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly investigated. Constructive criticism and supervisory actions regarding performance or other workplace issues are not retaliation.
The College will maintain a written record of each formal complaint and how it was investigated and resolved. Written records will be maintained in confidence to the extent practical and appropriate. Written records will normally be maintained for at least the same period as other personnel records are maintained.
False and Malicious Accusations
False and malicious complaints of sexual or other forms of harassment, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Timeliness in Reporting Harassment
The College encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid constructive action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention has proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of sexual or other forms of harassment.
The complaint procedures described above are the only internal procedures available for complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment or other types of harassment. Other available resources for information include:
The Illinois Department of Human Rights
Chicago: (312) 814-6200
Springfield: (271) 785-5100
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chicago: (800) 669-4000